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There is an almost daily swing on market sentiment as traders grapple with the bigger picture implications of COVID-19. The dissemination of newsflow out of China is looking to be more positive. Although the total number of deaths has topped 2000, the numbers of daily new cases and deaths are now falling. Furthermore, the official information is that Chinese businesses are getting back to work following weeks of shutdown and quarantine. Traders are faced with a dilemma of whether they can rely on the official data. Levels of pollution and electricity usage have been often used as more reliable gauges in the past and will need to be watched as to whether they marry up with the official data. It does seem as though knee-jerk reactions to bad news (Apple’s revenue warning being the latest) tend to last for a day or so before traders refocus on the dovish leanings of central banks and a continued tendency to “climb the wall of worry”. For markets, there is a more settled outlook to sentiment forming today. Through all of this, the dollar remains a go-to destination of capital choice, whilst gold is also playing strongly. What is interesting though, is that sentiment on the oil markets has turned a corner, with an appetite to buy into weakness now increasingly prevalent.
Wall Street closed lower last night with the S&P 500 -0.3% at 3370. However, with US futures looking perky today, around +0.3% back higher, this is allowing a decent Asian session (Nikkei +0.9%, Shanghai Composite -0.3%). European markets are taking this positively, with FTSE futures +0.7% and DAX futures +0.6% pointing to decent early gains today. In forex, there is a positive risk skew to majors, with JPY underperforming and a rebound for AUD and NZD. Once more we see EUR supported early in the European session, but can the cycle of sell-offs be broken and be translated into a recovery? In commodities, gold continues to climb higher by +$3 (+0.2%), whilst oil is also supported and is over half a percent higher.
The key data on the economic calendar kicks off with UK CPI at 0930GMT. Headline UK CPI is expected to fall by -0.4% in January but this would still mean a year on year improvement to +1.6% (from +1.3% in December). Core UK CPI is expected to drop by -0.6% on the month but the year on year reading is expected to increase slightly to +1.5% (from +1.4% in December). Into the afternoon, the focus is on inflation for the US, but this time it is the PPI, or factory gate inflation. US PPI is at 1330GMT and is expected to see headline PPI increase to +1.6% in January (from +1.3% in December), whilst core PPI is expected to pick up to +1.3% (from +1.1% in December). US Building Permits at 1330GMT are expected to increase slightly to 1.450m (from +1.420m in December). US Housing Starts are expected to fall to 1.425m (from 1.608m in December). The FOMC minutes for the January meeting are at 1900GMT where the focus will be on what the Fed had to say about the impact of the Coronavirus and inflation.
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